STATE COLLEGE PA (Wessays™) -- If you live around here, you know this place. It is called the Park Avenue Medical Sciences Building and it shared by the hospital up the street and the local college’s dockery. The only real science that goes on here is financial extraction.
This is where the local Park Avenue doctors practice. It is three stories tall and about as wide as the average Home Depot. And after they had the first floor plans done right, the lobotomy kicked in and the rest of the place was designed like a fun house without the mirrors.
I’m coming out the front door and walking away from having my bum knee shot full of Miracle Cure and about where you see the lamp post on the right, is The Greatest Generation.
Now if you read Brokaw’s book, you know those are the people who saved us from the Nazis and Japan, imperfectly but close enough. Robust, hard working, community minded, young and strong. But the young and strong stay neither forever.
And here’s the old sea dog, all maybe 5’ 4” of him, but he’s bent over so you really can’t tell. He’s scraping along with a pair of those double crutches that grip each arm. We used to call them Polio sticks. He is moving with all the speed of a garden slug but none of the grace. He’s wearing a World War II vet’s baseball cap with the medals and stars and “US NAVY in letters big enough for the top line of the eye chart. It’s what the Greatests have so we don’t mistake them for track stars.
“Do you need a hand, sir?” (Watch. He’s going to smile and tell me go pack it. It’s a sure thing.)
“Yes,” he says. I have to get to my skin doc and I’m having some trouble.” Is that a tear in his eye or is it just a bit cold on this first day of Spring?
Okay, I steady him, grab his arm and our goal is the invasion of Normandy Bench. You can see it there near the door. He makes it but it’s cold, “is there a bench inside?” Yes, but you can’t see it unless you’re right on it.
He makes it to the inner bench.
“I can find someone who can get you a wheelchair for the rest of the trip.”
“Nah. You have troubles of your own.” He points to my cane. “This is nothing,” he says. “I’ll rest for awhile and then take the elevator.”
You don’t insist. You don’t patronize the Greatest Generation. They’re the only reason we’re still here. So he sits. And the elevator will arrive and he’ll go to the third floor and search for the room number which is at the end of a maze that takes you the longest possible distance to the farthest corner of the building.
Once inside, he’ll find the route to the exam room is another maze. By the time he gets to see the doc, he’ll be moving at the speed of growing grass if he’s moving at all.
Greatest was hurting and the dermatologist is a Brooklyn born and raised MD who closed his ground floor office on the other side of town and joined a group here.
Another of his patients once quipped “So if your ambition has always been to be a Park Avenue doctor, you’ve made it.”
His immediate rejoinder: “No. I never wanted that. I get enough grief from my patients here.” But then he turned serious.
“A lot of my patients are seniors and some of them are going to have trouble getting up to this floor and then walking all those corridors into the exam room.”
And how right he was this day.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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